Is the M Division Planning Smaller Powerplants?

A number of blogs and forums have been discussing a recent interview with BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer and the German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport. The interview that took place was in regards to BMW cutting the production of the V8 diesel which is currently only utilized in the 7 series for the European market (and it is not a big seller to begin with). In this interview Reithofer indicated that BMW made this decision because they are able to achieve similar results and greater efficiency with current and future six-cylinder engines all while producing less emissions. He also stated that BMW will be exploring more ways to “cut ” cylinders and utilize smaller engines (six-cylinder) to achieve the levels of the larger naturally aspirated engines.

That being said, somehow someone interpreted (we assume from this interview that we have seen and translated, and re-translated) that this meant the //M division and it has been widely reported over the net. We are still waiting for confirmation or acknowledgment from our sources that this is a valid concept but from our translations there was no indication this was meant for //M or even cars meant for the US.

In our opinion this interview may have been taken out of context on many forums and online sources. Most seem to think that he meant the M3 would go from 8 to 6 cylinders. This makes little sense because of the R&D that went into this engine in order to be a V8 (to compete with other German brands), and the cost associated with that. What seems more logical if in fact they are going to “cut ” somecylinder is take the M5/M6 and go from 10 to 8.

BMW has recouped the money from the V10 that has been in production since 2005 and with their newer technology they can increase performance using less cylinders. BMWAG has spent a good deal of time and money on the N54 and N62 twin turbos to achieve more performance from less cylinders already. If they were to use the technology from the twin turbo V8 (having the turbos within the V) and built that into the newly developed M3 engine that would make for a future M5/M6 engine.

The M5/M6 is getting around 400hp, almost the same as M3 v8 when the //M button is not engaged. The button gives it the extra 100 hp. So in theory BMW could do the same thing by using the M3 V8 and twin turbos putting out around 450hp then push the button changing the software for the turbos and get around 500hp or more.

Another fact that many have overlooked that also points to a change in the M5/M6 cars is that the SMG has basically been killed off by the introduction of the DCT. The V10 engine was designed alongside with the SMG; many sources within BMW have indicated that the manual transmission was originally not even in the plans for these cars but due to pressure from US customersit was reluctantly added to the lineup. The manual and SMG versions differ a good deal in engine mapping and overall fuel consumption.

The marketing department alone would not allow the newly released //M3 receive anything but a V8 so we highly doubt that we will see a return of 6 in its future anytime soon. We will not be surprised to see the V10 dropped in the //M5/6 and a newer forced induction V8 replacing it. An added hitch to all this is that we know BMW recently trademarked the “555 ” and “M 10 “…. the 555 should definitely be a turbo V8 unless they secretly developed a new 5.5l engine; the M 10 we have not a single clue on other than it could relate to the proposed BMW supercar.

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  • Jon

    Have been following this on the web. A very good article and something I am very interested in. I have been thinking that Mr. Reithofer was likely taken out of context so have been waiting to hear more about this officially.

  • SF Dede

    On germancarzone, there was a post indicating two M cars for the 1 series, a twin turbo four and a twin turbo six. I am intrigued by a twin turbo four for the 1 series. How much reduction in weight (up front and in back with the reduction or elimination of ballast) could be expected for the twin turbo four? What would be interesting for the twin turbo four would be torque figures….

    http://www.m3post.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2379779&postcount=43

  • Have been following this on the web. A very good article and something I am very interested in. I have been thinking that Mr. Reithofer was likely taken out of context so have been waiting to hear more about this officially.

    Thanks for the compliment, we like to verify things before jumping to conclusions based on some other blog entry. Like todays post on another blog that BMW will be producing a Tii, which we heard from a designer is not true, it will be bolt ons. A Tii may be available in 2012 but a lot can happen in that amount of time!

  • J

    Sure wish I knew what BMW plans to do with MY09. I dont want to drop any money now and be upset when TTs, a downsized engine, or something else pops..its tough sitting on my wallet….waiting….